Pulmonary function testing measures how well you are breathing. There are different types of breathing tests that can be done during pulmonary function testing. They include spirometry, lung volumes and diffusing capacity. Spirometry can show how much air you can breathe in and out. It also shows how fast you can breathe in and out. Lung volumes can provide further information about how your lungs are functioning. Diffusing capacity can show how well your lungs move oxygen from the lungs to the blood. The results of pulmonary function testing can help your doctor find the best treatment plan for you.
Preparing for the Test
Please follow these directions when getting ready for this test. These medicines will affect the results of some of these tests and need to be stopped before the testing is done. If the medicine is not stopped before the test we will not be able to complete the test.
Stop these inhaled medicines for 24 hours before your appointment:
- Advair® (fluticasone and salmeterol)
- Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol)
- Dulera® (mometasone and formoterol)
- Breo® (fluticasone and vilanterol)
- Arcapta (indacerterol)
- Serevent® (salmeterol)
- Foradil® (formoterol)
- Serevent® (salmeterol)
- Tudorza® (aclidinium)
- Brovana® (arformoterol)
- Perforomist™ (formoterol)
- Spiriva® (tiotropium)
- Striverdi® (olodatarol)
- Anora® (umeclidinium and vilanterol)
Stop these inhaled medicines for 6 hours before your appointment:
- Atrovent® (ipratropium),
- Combivent®(albuterol and ipratropium)
- DuoNeb® (albuterol and ipratropium)
Stop these inhaled medicines for 4-6 hours before your appointment:
- Proventil HFA®
- Ventolin HFA® ProAir® (albuterol)
- Xopenex® (levalbuterol)
Continue to take all your other medicine as you usually do.
During the Test
You will do a number of breathing tests. The technician will explain what you need to do during each test. A good effort during the testing is important to get good results. The technician will coach you during each test to help you give a good effort. If you have questions during the tests, please ask the technician.
You may be asked to sit in a Plexiglass booth for some of the testing. This booth is called a body box or plethysmograph. You will do different breathing techniques, blowing into a mouthpiece, while in the booth. Each breathing technique is often repeated to make sure the test is reliable.
You may also inhale a quick-relief medicine. If you inhale the medicine the breathing tests will be repeated after the medicine. Your doctor can see what breathing changes you have after you inhale the medicine.
Length of the Test
Pulmonary function testing often takes 70 minutes to complete.
Day of the Test
On the day of your scheduled test, report to room A310a in Pulmonary Physiology Services (PPS). PPS is located on the 3rd floor of the May building. If you have questions please call Pulmonary Physiology Services at 303.398.1530.
Get directions and see a map of the National Jewish Health campus.
This information has been approved by Amy Olson, MD, MSPH (November 2014).